McCormack now at helm of Otago union

New Otago Rugby Football Union chairman Peter McCormack. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
New Otago Rugby Football Union chairman Peter McCormack. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Peter McCormack believes the key to anything is making the most of what you have got.

That was how he approached rugby when he played during his university days and that is how he intends to approach his tenure as chairman of the Otago Rugby Football Union.

McCormack, a chartered accountant and director at PKF Dunedin, was elected chairman at the ORFU’s board meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

He joined the board in 2016 and had previously been deputy chairman. He replaces Rowena Davenport, now a director on the New Zealand Rugby board.

"I’m surrounded by a pretty good bunch of people, which is quite good," McCormack said yesterday.

"I guess the time commitment is fairly big but it is what it is.

"There’s a really good group of people there now. They’re all enthusiastic and they’re all on the same page."

It is quite a fresh board, containing three newcomers.

Queenstown businesswoman Donna Harpur-Swain and Dunedin policeman Craig Brown joined the board at the annual meeting last month, and West Taieri president Darryl MacKenzie has replaced Lee Piper as the Council of Rugby Clubs delegate.

Former Southern prop Warren Moffat is the new deputy chairman, and the other board members are Roy Daniels (president), Jeffrey Broughton, Amy Wilson-White and Tony Pryde.

McCormack, who joined his firm in 1980 and became an owner in 1988, does not have an extensive rugby background.

He played socially as a student — "with a body like mine, you don’t go very far in rugby — and has not been a member of a club.

But he has long been a fan. Raised in Wanaka, he came to Dunedin in 1980 and hardly missed a game in the 1980s and 1990s.

McCormack follows Davenport and former chairman Doug Harvie from the finance-accounting world to the union’s top chair, which is perhaps no coincidence as the ORFU has spent a decade rebuilding from a brush with liquidation.

"We’re pretty lucky at Otago rugby because we’ve got some good financial people who keep things in check," he said.

"I don’t think you’re ever completely happy. We’re under-resourced and under-funded.

"There are a whole lot of things we’d like to do but we just can’t.

"And it’s a juggling act between semi-professional rugby and the grassroots. You never get it completely right, but you do the best with what you’ve got.

"It can be pretty tough down this end of the country. But we’re really lucky with our sponsors. The majority are rugby people, and they don’t get a lot out of it, other than the pleasure of being involved.

"All we can do is make the most of what we’ve got."

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